Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Reclaiming your Dream.

Byline: COVER STORY By Barbara Chavez

Comes a time when you get a glimpse of the life you once envisioned. And you know:It's time to make it come true.

The dream began when you were a girl. It was a picture in your mind, clear as daylight, and you always saw yourself in it. Maybe it was the ranching life, living close to the land, close to your values. Perhaps it was a house you dreamed and built yourself. Or the glamorous life of a fashion model.

Maybe you wanted something to call your own, something you made your own store, your own thriving business.

Or maybe you just nurtured a secret desire to hop on a Harley-Davidson and ride, just ride.

But somewhere along the way, life took a different path. You finished high school, perhaps college. Maybe you got a job. Maybe someone told you you couldn't do it. Maybe you got married, had children. You got busy. The flame that once burned brightly dwindled to a flicker.

Comes a time in life when you get a glimpse of that old dream, and you have a choice. You realize you haven't snuffed out the flame. It's been burning in your heart all along. And you know: It's time to reclaim it.

There is still time, and SAGE has interviewed six women who found their way back to their most heartfelt dreams.

For Vanessa Mills, who at 45 has a fledgling business but really big plans, it meant discarding masks, discovering who she really was. For women like single mother Eileen Chavez or Jane-of-all-trades Sarah Knight, it was simply courage or sweat. Then there's Marlene Pittman, whose dream changed and she found a richer life living true to her deepest values.

Life coach Susan Turnbull is among those who help women find their dreams. She is one to talk. She is living her dream. She conducts workshops that help women tap into their personal power. For her, the journey back starts with believing in yourself.

"Women are more in fear of their magnificence and power than they are of failure," Turnbull says. "You don't have to believe you don't have a choice in the job or career you want or in the things you want in life."

How? Where to begin? If these questions are on your lips, then read on.

Vanessa Mills

Finding yourself

Vanessa Mills was 5 years old when her grandmother found her mixing a bowl of flour, cocoa, sugar and nuts.

"She asked me what I thought I was doing and I said, 'I'm baking brownies,' " Mills says. "She just said, 'OK, I guess I better turn the oven on for you.' And I wasn't joking. I had made brownies without a recipe, without knowing exactly what needed to be in them."

That was then. Decades went by. She headed down another path.

Mills earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of New Mexico and a master's degree in literary arts from St. John's College in Santa Fe, where she read a lot of Socrates and Plato.

"I wasn't really sure what career I wanted to have, but I wanted it to be exciting," she says. "I suppose more of me wanted to be sitting on a beach somewhere in Mexico then wanting a job I had to go to every day."

Mills recently opened Cheesecake in Paradise, a small, eclectic bakery with fake palm trees part Jimmy Buffett song and part Old World bakery. Coffee brews in a huge urn, and when visitors drop in, Mills sits at a long counter offering tastes of her latest cheesecake recipes, featuring flavors such as "Raspberry's Baby" and "Banana Popsicle."

"I create cheesecakes just from a thought in my head of how they will taste," she says. "I think it's a lot like how Mozart composed music. …

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